After being spoilt by the Indian summer of last October, and the brief arrival of unseasonal sunshine in February, it had begun to seem as if the real thing would never arrive this year following the wettest April in years. But now those comparisons of Britain to stereotypically hot places around the world where temperatures are, for once, marginally cooler than here – the Bahamas! Hawaii! Ibiza! – can finally be brought out in force.
All of those holiday hotspots were overshadowed by the British weather yesterday as the mercury hit 26.9C at Altnaharra in the Scottish Highlands. Further south, it made the honour of carrying the Olympic torch harder work than expected for the runners faced with 25C heat on the streets of Bristol. Thermometers also touched 26C at Heathrow.
And though it is still rather early in the year to be getting excited about these things, 23 May was the third day in a row to be classed as the hottest day of 2012 so far. Forecasters expect the mini-heatwave to last until the weekend, with today predicted to be warmer still – a possible maximum of 29C may even be posted.
With a hosepipe ban still in place in eastern and southern England, some gardeners will have to wait a little longer before they can indulge their lawns. But spare a thought for Trawscoed in Wales, which is forecast to be the coldest place in the UK, at a shivering 8C.
Showers are expected to resume early next week, and it is still too soon to say if sunshine will reappear for the four-day bank holiday weekend marking the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.